According to the Gartner Group, more than 66 million people purchased some type of tablet computer last year (myself included). There are thousands of applications for the iPad, Android and Windows-based tablets. Here are some of the Top 10 apps I've found for the sports fan with an iPad:
This just may be the best application for the iPad, period. It allows users to pick up to 36 websites, Facebook or Twitter accounts and presents them in a magazine-like fashion. While not a sports app per se, it is easy enough to plug in your favorite teams and other sports information sites. Flipboard keeps it all in one central location. I use it every day.
This app is CNN's version of Flipboard, but with a twist. Like Flipboard, it presents the web, Facebook and Twitter like a magazine, but it sorts information by topic instead, and it lets you pick as many of them as you like from a pre-approved list. Again, one convenient location makes it easy and convenient to follow your favorite teams or sport.
8. The Masters
Already outdated for this year, nonetheless, Augusta National came through with a truly excellent app for the most famous golf tournament in the world. Everything you'd expect from an app that focuses solely on one event, at one venue, is included. HD video, detailed maps of each hole and the history of the club and tournament are covered in exquisite detail and during the tournament, the scoreboard is active and there is a live feed from the course and a highlight reel. This is the standard that every tournament should be measured by.
7. Asphalt 6
This is a racing game that has great graphics and utilizes the iPad's gyroscopic abilities in that you treat the tablet like a steering wheel. It's pretty difficult and very fast-paced. (Don't play it before bed -- your adrenaline will keep you up all night, and I speak from experience.) The game is free, and as you win races you earn points and get to upgrade to other car models. I'm not much of a game player, but this one has me hooked.
6. NBC Sports Talk
I've found this to be the best "inside" sports-information app available. The stories are well-written, often a bit pithy but usually very insightful. Every major sport is covered in an easy-to-use interface, and it provides a daily schedule, scores, the Vegas line and even lets you buy tickets to an event. Far better than ESPN or any other sports-news app I've found to date.
5. Sports Illustrated
It's free to download, but they do charge you for full editions of the magazine. Still, when you're tired of reading the blogs and their repetitive, snarky, Jim Rome-wannabe styling, you'll see the difference in quality right away.
4. Madden 2012
I think it costs something like $49.99 to buy a copy of Madden football for your console, but I could be wrong. For one thing, nobody calls their consoles "consoles" anymore, and with inflation, I'm sure it costs more. But in iPad world, Madden costs something like $9.99 -- and yeah ... people still complain. For the older, non-gamer fan, it's a nice challenge. No joystick is needed because you can just point and shoot with the iPad. Tap the screen ... touchdown!
3. ESPN Scorecenter XL
It's not that it's great, but you have to have ESPN on here somewhere, don't you? The app is free, it ties into their fantasy leagues, and it gives you the scores.
2. Watch ESPN
The name kind of says it all. Watch ESPN on your iPad. (Carrier rates may apply ... better stick to the WiFi.)
1. MLB At Bat 2012
This is the best sports app in the world, and it keeps getting better. It's one of the handfuls of really incredible things Major League Baseball has offered up to fans, and with every passing year MLB seems to get it more and more. This app has been on the market since 2010, I think, but it doesn't matter because it's grown by leaps and bounds ever since.
For 14 semoleons -- about the price of one hot dog and a beer at a baseball game -- you get to hear every radio broadcast of every game from both team's markets (your choice), and when there's a highlight, it's streamed to you in video. You also get a game highlight reel after every game and pretty good (not excellent, sorry) sports reporting after every game. There's even a free MLB TV game of the day.
But where the app really excels? The classic pitcher versus batter duel. The app is so strong it can tell you how fast the pitch was when it left the pitcher's hand and how far it dipped from the mound to the plate in inches. All of the other statistical things you want or need are in the app, too. This is the gold standard. If you're a baseball lover and you don't buy this app, you're not only a fool, but you're not a baseball lover.